Treat Your Resources Well
Last week’s blog considered where your business comes from. One likely source is from other people – and this is typically from other professionals who know, like and trust you, or from other clients who have found value firsthand in your services. Either way, show your appreciation.
Many professionals believe they are too busy to spend time meeting with people or developing relationships. But it is imperative to your business that you nurture your resources – the people who are helping you grow.
The number of ways to do this are limited only by your thoughtfulness and creativity. Here are some ideas from me and from my clients. Notice these vary widely in amount of money and amount of time required:
1. Email a heartfelt thanks.
2. Call with a heartfelt thanks – this is preferable to #1, for what I hope are obvious reasons.
3. Send a written card with your heartfelt thanks. A gift card of some sort is an option as well, but be sure to do a little research on the kind of card that would be meaningful to this particular person. You want them to know you put some thought into it. Calling a secretary or employee for ideas is helpful. Again, the handwritten card is a preferable option to the email. Handwritten cards are so rare they really stand out to people. It doesn’t take long to write. Be sure to include personal thoughts and not just “thank you for the referral.” You might try this:
I know that you know a lot of personal injury attorneys and I am honored that you would choose me to trust with your friend/client/parent. I will do my absolute best to give her the service she deserves. Please let me know what I can do for you in the future. I appreciate our partnership/friendship/association.
4. Take them out for dinner or a drink. During this event, be sure again to offer heartfelt thanks.
6. Buy them another kind of gift. Buy them something that will show them you have taken the time to find out what they like.
Note that nowhere on this list did I say, “send them business.” There is a difference of thought here, but it is my experience that it is best to refer based on merit and quality – because you know, like and trust the other professional – and not out of a sense of obligation or tit for tat. And in fact, if you give the impression that you are referring to others solely because they referred to you, this can cause problems in the future. Most people just don’t like to feel obligated.